Too Many Cooks, a kawaii cooking game, has whipped its way up to the iOS App Store’s Game of the Day. In the game, users manage incoming orders with tap and slide mechanics to cook delectable foods like sushi and rice.
But once Too Many Cooks is no longer offered on Apple’s special menu, it will need to find other ways to attract hungry App Store customers. In today’s App Store Spotlight, we look at how the game is served up in search results and how it can plate its screenshots for the perfect pairing.
While Too Many Cooks may find an uplift from being featured, it does not rank in visible positions in search for many high volume, relevant terms. Outside of its brand, high volume terms ranked in the top 50 include:
- “Co op game”
- “Japanese games”
- “Co op games free”
- “Japanese game”
While terms related to “Co op” stem from incorporating the keywords in the Subtitle field (“Co-op Cooking Fun!”), indexing for “Sushi” and “Japanese” terms are likely due to direct keyword targeting. “Sushi” is also providing some visibility on low volume terms ranked in the top 10, such as:
- “Sushi kitchen”
- “Chef cooking sushi restaurant”
- “Kitchen sushi”
- “Chef sushi”
While Too Many Cooks has some visibility around “co-op”, “sushi” and “Japanese” searches, it falls short in ranking for other high volume relevant keywords:
- “Kitchen cooking games” at #94
- “Cooking pizza games” at #99
- “Restaurant games” at #127
- “Cooking games” at #180
Unranked for “Time Management Games”, where competitors “Cooking Dash, “Cooking Diary” and “Family Kitchen” rank in the top 15
These are definitely more competitive than the “sushi” and “Japanese games” related terms, as they apply to a broad range of games with a variety of design styles, gameplay and demographics. But looking at the visibility driven by including “Co-op” in the Subtitle, Too Many Cooks may have an opportunity to improve indexation by including some of these within the Title or Subtitle fields.
These fields are not only indexed for search results, but also highly visible to users, impacting their decision to click on an app. Since Too Many Cooks is only using 16 of 30 available characters in the Title and 18 of 30 in the Subtitle, there is room to test new terms, while still looking to maintain the visibility from “co-op”.
While “cooking” and “kitchen” related searches could see some benefits from being included in the Title or Subtitle fields, phrases related to “time management games” appear to be not targeted at all. With competitors are positioned in top spots, this could be another area to look to expand into.
App Store Screenshots
Too Many Cooks has Screenshots that include banners and short, concise text that describe the gameplay in each screenshot. The screenshots definitely capture the kawaii Japanese game style of the app, with a variety of vibrant banners, colorful characters, and of course tasty-looking food.
The design style of the screenshot and some of the text included are also helping the highest performing high volume searches. While the “Japanese game” aesthetic clearly shows through by way of the app’s design style and the expressions on characters’ faces, Screenshot #2’s “Play With Friends!” callout helps drive home the “co-op” gameplay to users discovering the app in related searches. This quick visual connection between a search term and the app can lead to improved click-through rate, which over time can maintain and improve ranking.
The app succeeds and falls short in similar ways that the keyword rankings do. Co-op gameplay and the kawaii style show through clearly, but there are missed opportunities in highlighting “kitchen” in one of the first screenshots instead of the fifth, as well as not highlighting the time management aspect of the game at all.
Too Many Cooks appears to be targeting “pizza” in its keyword field as well- along with “pizza cooking games” at #99, terms such as “pizza delivery games”, “pizza games” and “pizza game” are also ranked, albeit in low positions. This may be in part that there are no callouts around pizza in the text- but more importantly, pizza is not displayed in-game in any of the 5 iPhone screenshots, resulting in a disconnect between a user’s search for related terms and the app.
Outside of improving existing keyword ranking, finding new areas of opportunity and supporting them with supplementary screenshots, there is one important note for Too Many Cooks- the first iPad screenshot still has a holiday theme. While seasonal screenshots can lead to improved conversion during the appropriate time, it can also signal to users that an app is out of date if they are not adjusted when the season ends.
A/B Testing and Iteration
Due to several factors such as seasonality, fluctuation in rankings, changes in user behavior, and new apps constantly entering the market, an app that is not constantly testing keywords and creatives can never be fully optimized. After assessing the impact of being featured, there are several areas of opportunity for Too Many Cooks to try.
With any test, it’s important to assess one element at a time, then measure the results. If key metrics like ranking or conversion rate improve after an update, apply them, pinpoint why they worked, and move on to testing the next element. Just like perfecting a dish, it’s important to understand how adding or removing ingredients impact the dish - positively or negatively – and refine things from there.
With a UI that is too-kawaii, delicious looking dishes and a clear call to cook co-op style, Too Many Cooks has several of the right ingredients to keep the orders coming in after its App Store feature concludes. But there are definitely a few key items from the keyword optimization and conversion optimization list that haven’t been picked up yet- testing these in future updates may be the recipe for long term success.